What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment where people wager cash or other kinds of currency on games of chance. The games are usually played with cards or dice. In some countries, casinos are licensed by the state to operate certain types of games. Some states require casinos to provide responsible gambling information and contact details for specialized support services.

A surprisingly large percentage of casinos are owned by organized crime groups, which have earned a reputation for exploiting their workers and customers. The mafia has been known to control the operations of entire casinos, and even re-design them to attract specific crowds.

Gambling is a social activity, and casino owners recognize this by designing the atmosphere around noise, light and excitement. The floors and walls are often brightly colored, typically red, which is thought to encourage people to gamble by lowering their self-consciousness. The casinos also offer alcoholic drinks and snacks, which they sell at a higher margin than they cost to produce, to enhance their profitability.

Casinos make money by charging patrons a percentage of their total bets, called the house edge or vigorish. This gives the casino a guaranteed profit of at least two percent of total bets. Casinos are also able to make a considerable amount of money from high rollers, who play in special rooms away from the main casino floor and can bet tens of thousands of dollars a hand. In return, these bettors receive a lot of free spectacular entertainment, luxury suites, and other inducements.